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In Bristol, there has been a rise of co-working spaces. As well as being cheaper than traditional offices, they also present networking opportunities. Bristol24/7 spoke to co-working spaces operating in the city to find out how exactly they work.

[This article was first published here by Charlie Watts, Tuesday June 20, 2023]

Origin Workspace opened in 2019 and now has more than 600 members that use the space on Berkeley Square.

“The intention was to create a premium co-working and meeting space that focuses on fostering a strong sense of community and collaboration,” explained Caroline Hamilton, Origin’s commercial manager.

“One of our main aims for Origin was to create a specific space where ambitious businesses and growing teams are more likely to succeed by working alongside a variety of established companies and other start-ups.”

More than 135 businesses are based at Origin, and it is particularly popular with companies in the property industry.

Origin’s facilities include a roof-top terrace with “the best view of Bristol” – photo: Origin

The co-working, meeting and events space off Park Street has “first-class” facilities on every floor, including “the best view in Bristol” from the roof terrace.

“We’ve found that businesses have sought out Origin as they want a workspace that is a destination, somewhere people want to spend time,” added Hamilton.

“Fundamentally though we are providing a ready-made community and this seems to be the most important aspect of coworking.”

‘Workspace that wows’

Another co-working space in Bristol is DeskLodge, who have been operating in the city since 2012.

Their flagship workspace, DeskLodge House, is on Redcliffe Way, and they are due to open their second site, in Beacon Tower, in July.

“Each workspace is handcrafted, not much comes off the shelf,” explained Tom Ball, DeskLodge’s founder.

“We put a lot of thought into how our members and teams can get best use of the space, and we create different work zones so you can get your best work done, in a zone that just feels right for you.”

DeskLodge’s co-working space includes an Alice in Wonderland-themed zone – photo: DeskLodge

At DeskLodge House, members can work silently in the ‘hobbit hole’, hot desk in ‘Alice in Wonderland’, brainstorm with their team in a ‘submarine’ or chill out in ‘sofa city’.

Ball added: “That’s what makes us stand out, and aside from the theming and décor, our team genuinely cares about everyone’s experience, and we regularly win awards for our customer service which we’re so proud of.

“We wrap up what we do by saying we promise to deliver handy locations, friendly neighbours and workspace that wows.”

‘Spaces with an eye on the future’

Future Leap’s first co-working business hub opened on Gloucester Road in 2019, followed by its second site, in Clifton, in May 2022.

“Future Leap stands out in the co-working sector with its focus on sustainability,” said Fenna Leake, Future Leap’s managing director.

“This means we attract a certain kind of co-worker and that creates a special community of like-minded people. Our co-working spaces are open, collaborative spaces with an eye on the future.

“We operate co-working spaces in unique properties that are retrofit to embed sustainability into the building and operations.”

Future Leap Gloucester Road occupies the former art deco tram station by the Arches, while Future Leap Clifton is located in The Old Chapel, a former church on Oakfield Road.

Some 90 per cent of the people working from Future Leap either work directly in sustainability and the third sector or take a B-Corp approach to business.

Leake continued: “The future looks bright for this sector, but is also going to become more competitive for hubs like ours with new spaces opening all the time.

“We aim to stay ahead of the curve by continuing to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability year-on-year.”

‘A hub for local communities’ 

Raw Space was formed in 2017 and purchased by its current owner in 2021 as it struggled to make ends meet during the pandemic.

The “independently-minded, community-focused” co-working and event space is also located in Gloucester Road.

“We’re different because community is integral to our values and business model,” said Emma Massey, Raw Space’s community manager.

“We provide a relaxed, social, welcoming space for our members to connect with each other.”

Raw Space is an “independently-minded, community-focused” co-working and event space on Gloucester Road – photo: Raw Space

The space has a mixed cross-section of members from freelancers, full and part time remote workers, and small businesses.

Raw Space says there has been “a huge growth” in the number of co-working spaces in the city – and it is looking for a new additional space in the Bedminster area.

“This is reflective of the increase and demand in hybrid working,” added Massey.

“We believe that coworking spaces are going to continue to expand and become a hub for local communities.

“There’s a need to provide more opportunities for connection, working, socialising and feeling a sense of belonging within the city whether you already live here or have just moved.”